Whether or not you realize it, you’re surrounded by artists: painters, photographers, podcasters, musicians, sculptors, writers, designers, and much, much more.
But we often only see the end product.
We rarely think about all of the hard work that it took to create the art.
As a result, we often overvalue the art and neglect the artist.
So this post is all about some simple, practical ways that you can encourage the many artists in your life.
1. Share their work as much as possible.
When you do this, you give their art more exposure and more reach. History shows many artists such as Van Gogh, Bach, Kafka, Poe, and Keats were extremely underappreciated during their time alive. Today there is more art available than any other point in human history, so share art with others whenever you can.
Sharing art is one of the most generous things you can do. Think about your favorite movie, song, book, TV show, painting, and sculpture. You wouldn’t know of these things unless someone shared them with you.
2. Leave reviews and recommendations for the art you enjoy.
This simple step can really help the artist. As an author, I can tell you that Amazon Reviews actually have the power to make or break a book. Recommendations — especially word of mouth ones — are absolutely essential as well.
3. Encourage them with your words.
Comments and emails and notes and letters and even in-person compliments really matter. You never know exactly what inner-battles an individual is going through at a point in time.
One simple sentence can provide a ton of encouragement, support and even momentum.
Fear is a major part of the creative process, so every artist has to wonder from time to time if he or she can actually finish their art. Just a little bit of encouragement can go a long way.
4. Encourage artists with your actions.
Buy them a cup of coffee. Maybe you want to become a patron of an artist if they have a monthly Patreon account. Maybe you want to purchase some of their art for yourself or for friends.
One of the baristas at my local coffee shop is a writer; instead of just giving her a tip, I gave her a nice notebook that she could use for her writing.
All of these different ways of appreciation are very valuable and greatly appreciated.
5. Volunteer in your kid’s school.
When you do this, you help create a solid foundation for the artists of tomorrow. Recently, I started helping in my son’s reading group at school. It has been a fantastic experience. Reading is such a powerful tool that we all use to learn and grow. That’s just one simple example. You can volunteer and help in many different areas.
There are many opportunities to get plugged in: art shows, plays, concerts, and much more.
6. Support businesses that support and promote the arts.
Early in 2020, I went to a book launch at bar nearby. The author did a reading from his new book and several musicians played as well. It was fantastic, and I had a wonderful time. Here’s a picture of the event.
I spoke to the owner and told him how much I appreciated that he was having this event. The owner said, “Oh, we love to support the arts.” Coffee shops often support local art too. Keep an eye out for the businesses that sponsor events too. The local businesses in your community often help behind the scenes as sponsors and supporters for many events. These venues and events give us a space to gather and celebrate art.
7. Support your local library.
The local library is vital for the growth of your community. There are many different classes, events, meetings, workshops, and events. Go to an event or take a class. Take your kids to storytime or have them participate in a summer reading program. My local library features art from schools around the area, which ties-in perfectly with #5 above.
Lastly, I also encourage you to rethink how you view art. I like this definition: art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.
Art does not have to be just writing or music or painting or sculpting. It can be much more than that. It can be podcasting or website design or scrapbooking or many, many other things.
When you support the artists you know, you also encourage these artists to create more art. We all need more art in our lives. Art makes us celebrate life; art allows us to feel more alive. Art is something that makes the world a better place and changes each of us for the better.